1. Wizards hang on in Orlando for a 105-98 win
The Wizards took care of business, fending off a feisty Magic squad, for their first victory of the season. John Wall was the engine from start to finish, but he got some much-needed help from Paul Pierce down the stretch. Marcin Gortat had his hands full with Magic center Nikola Vucevic, but managed to anchor the team in the win. Here are my thoughts:
- Wall showed up tonight. There were only a few times where I found myself talking to the TV with the hope that Wall could hear me telling him he should have slowed down instead of going for a one-against-five fastbreak. A prime example was in the second half when he rushed a midrange shot with no other Wizards players even in the Magic half of the court yet. Other than the few lapses, he gets players the ball when and where they want it, finds the open man when it looks like he's run out of options and is reading defenses extremely well. He's seeing what the defense is giving him, even beyond his own defender. That allowed him to blow by Evan Fournier, after seeing the help defense sag away from the hoop, for the game-sealing layup.
- The second unit still has problems. For whatever reason, time and time again, they give up leads and are unable to hold the fort down when the starters take a breather. Last night, it was the starters building a 17-point lead that the Magic cut to nine once the reserves came in. Instead of resting up for the remainder of the game, the starting group had to come back in to save the day and finish the game off.
- Paul Pierce is clutch. When the offense started sputtering down the stretch and Orlando in prime position for a comeback, he shimmied his way to two fadeaway baseline jumpers over the smaller Ben Gordon. That's what he brings to this team late in games.
2. Watch highlights of Wall's big night
3. Pierce still has the clutch gene in him
No, it wasn't a game-winning jumper at the buzzer for the win, but when the Wizards were struggling offensively and needed someone to grab the bull by the horns to take matters into his own hands, Pierce showed up. The Magic were mounting a comeback and the Wizards were struggling to respond. That's when the team rode Pierce, who hit two big buckets late.
4. Behind the scenes with Wizards Magazine
The first episode from Monumental Network's Wizards Magazine was released, giving the fans behind the scenes footage from Media Day and beyond. They also spoke with DeJuan Blair about coming back to the east coast.
5. Is Nene suspension looming?
We know what happened last year in the playoffs when he head-butted Jimmy Butler: a one-game suspension. His head-butt last night to Channing Frye could force the league to review the incident and assess another suspension for the Brazilian big man. Take a look. Is a suspension or fine deserved?